China will use facial recognition smart locks to monitor 120,000 tenants

Beijing shows no signs of slowing its adoption of facial recognition technology, which is already in use on everything from toilet paper dispensers to school entrances and police systems in the city. According to a new report out of the nation, China plans to install thousands of smart locks with facial recognition technology to monitor public housing and prevent illegal subletting.

Beijing is home to massive public housing projects, which include tens of thousands of public housing units. By this summer, city officials plan to have deployed enough smart locks with facial recognition technology to monitor approximately 120,000 tenants, according to state news reports.

Public housing units are intended for individuals who cannot afford traditional housing options. Chinese officials have stated that the use of facial recognition technology is intended to clamp down on system abuses while increasing overall housing security. The idea is that by monitoring for illegal subletting and renters, the system would ensure that public housing units only go to people in need.

China has increasingly deployed a variety of technologies centered around facial recognition, which is used to monitor citizens across many aspects of life, including mundane ones like ensuring they don't jaywalk. Recently a state newspaper revealed that schools in China are adopting "smart shirts" that feature built-in location trackers and alarms.

The shirts are designed to monitor the location of students, including whether they've fallen asleep at school, left the school grounds without permission, or showed up late. The system works in conjunction with facial recognition technologies that link students to their own shirts, this ensuring that two students don't swap shirts to get around the tracking.